MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Monday opted out of a European convention on fighting corruption, a move that comes in the wake of its withdrawal from the Council of Europe following the start of Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, to terminate adherence to the Council of Europe’s convention on fighting corruption that Russia signed in 1999. The date for a vote on termination hasn’t been set yet, but it’s expected to come soon.
Putin argued in his letter to the Duma that the opt-out was the result of the Council’s decision to restrict Moscow’s participation in a body charged with overseeing general compliance with the convention, something he called “unacceptable” and “discriminatory.”
The Council of Europe, the continent’s top human rights organization, suspended Russia’s participation shortly after it sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. Russia withdrew from the Council in March and warned that it will also opt out of conventions that it signed as part of its membership in the organization. Moscow backed out of the European Convention on Human Rights in September.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Russia’s withdrawal from the anti-corruption convention would not hinder official efforts to combat graft.
“In no way will it undermine our domestic legal framework to combat corruption,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. He added that Russia will continue anti-corruption cooperation with “friendly” countries and noted that such cooperation with “unfriendly” nations have ground to a halt anyway.